tv PBS News Hour PBS January 2, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: six g.o.p. presidential hopefuls fanned out across iowa today, making their final pitches to voters the day before the caucuses. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, judy woodruff is on the ground in iowa following the contenders at rallies, town halls, and "meet and greets" around the state. >> woodruff: the republican candidates are in a last-minute scramble for caucus goers so that tomorrow night when the results are announced right here, they'll have the best possible showing. >> brown: plus, we get analysis from stuart rothenberg and susan page. >> ifill: then, ray suarez looks into the arson attacks in los
angeles that sent more than 50 cars plus homes up in flames. >> brown: we update the turmoil in egypt. charles sennott of global post reports on the egyptian military, once supporting the protest movement, but now engaging in a crackdown on monstrators. >> ifill: we assess what's behind the recent raids on american-backed groups, and what they mean for u.s.-egyptian relations. >> brown: and we close with the story of some cutting-edge scientific research that just might reveal what you're thinking. >> we're not doing mind reading here. we're reading your brain activity and using that brain activity to reconstruct what you saw. those are two very, very different things. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
moving our economy for 160 ars. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: iowa remained the center of the political universe today, as six republican presidential hopefuls turned to getting their supporters out to vote tomorrow, with nearly half
of all caucus-goers saying they might still change their minds. judy woodruff reports on the final push by the candidates ahead of tomorrow night's caucuses. >> thank you all very much and god bless. >> woodruff: all but ignoring the new year holiday, the republicans vying for a ticket out of iowa scrambled to find supporters but often attracted more news people than voters. >> how are you? >> welcome to iowa. >> woodruff: with just hours to go until tuesday night's caucuses, and with a new highly respected poll confirming four in ten caucus goers are either undecided or could change their minds, the pressure on candidates to make the sale was palpable. >> we want your support. >> woodruff: adding to the pressure was that poll showing mitt romney and ron paul battling it out at the top. but with rick santorum moving up fast from the back of the pack on the campaign's final days.
pollster ann selzer says santorum seems to be benefiting from the collapse one by one of all the other conservatives. >> he looks like a candidate that hasn't been muddyed. he looks like the guy that they can check all the boxes on fiscal conservative, social conservative. he looks like the guy people want. >> that's the first time i've gotten that question. >> woodruff: but with voters' main concern the economy and the self-identified christian conservative vote smaller than it was four years ago, analysts are careful about forecasting a santorum win. plus the move in santorum's direction was coming so late, there were doubts about whether he has the money and the ability to go the distance. he quickly tried to reassure anyone who would listen that's not a problem. >> we have the best plan: to win the states that are necessary. to win this election. >> woodruff: but santorum's rise made him an immediate target for the other
conservatives who are his main competitors. rick perry, for instance. >> if he want to truly overhaul washington you've got to do it with someone who has not voted to raise our debt ceiling. i think eight different times while rick was in the senate. he allowed or debt to go from $4.1 trillion to $9 trillion while he was in the united states senate. that's more debt even than obama has laid on us. >> woodruff: and for front- running romney who was asked how he differs from santorum. >> our backgrounds are quite different. like speaker gingrich, senator santorum has spent his career in the government in washington. nothing wrong with that. but it's a very different background than i have. i think that the people of this country recognize that with our economy as the major issue we face right now that it would be helpful to have someone who understands the economy firsthand. >> woodruff: romney remains one of the main question marks of the campaign. the former governor competed hard in iowa four years ago, hired the largest paid staff
and spent the most money. but came in a distant second. this time he has mounted a leaner, less visible effort and played down expectations. he's consistently drawn one quarter of the vote in iowa polls this year which also show republicans here see him as the most electable of the lot. >> this time around he's become more personable. he's more likable this time around. >> i'm leaning towards romney. >> woodruff: why? >> well, the first priority is to pick someone that can beat president obama. >> woodruff: but it remains to be seen how large romney can grow his support. even romney's iowa campaign chairman of four years ago, prominent republican doug gross, has questions. >> what's not clear to me about mitt romney is what are indeed are his convictions other than the fact that he really really wants to be the next president of the united states. he's a very ambitious guy. very strong in terms of his political ambitions.
but at the end of the day what's in his heart? what's at his core. >> woodruff: as of today gross still doesn't know whom he'll vote for. meanwhile, the candidates the romney camp has been most worried about have been struggling. >> if i have to get beaten up every day in the media and attacked every day with a bunch of negative ads designed by consultants who know nothing and paid for by people who don't care what they to this country, i will endure that. >> newt has more baggage than the airlines. freddie mac helped cause the economic crash but gingrich cashed in. >> woodruff: he has been on the defensive in part because of the million of dollars worth of negative ads run by his opponents and by the pro romney so-called super pac name "restore our future." new campaign laws mean it's able to raise and spend unlimited funds unlike the candidates. >> to spend that number of dollars in negative ads into one candidate is pretty amazing. >> do you feel swift-boated?
>> no, i feel romney-boated. >> reporter: the attacks seem to be working with many voters. >> we're afraid he has a little bit too much baggage. >> woodruff: what do you mean by that? >> past, you know, rumors and personal issues and things. >> woodruff: for his part rick perry has struggled to recover from a late start and a string of poor debate performances. but perry has raised money and is emphasizing organization in a state where that counts. >> i'll make a pact with you. if y'all will go and have my back this coming tuesday, i'll have your back for the next four years in washington d.c. god bless you and thank you all for coming out and being with us today. >> woodruff: perry and gingrich are trading fourth and fifth places in the polls, setting up a contest of their own to see who remains viable after iowa. when the results are announced tuesday night, here at g.o.p. election night headquarters all eyes will be on not just the winner but on what happens to the several christian
conservatives in the race. steve who heads the iowa faith and freedom coalition says he will vote for whomever republicans nominate. but acknowledges that having so many choices hasn't been ideal for the social conservative cause. >> this time you just don't seem to have that one that rises head and shoulders way above the others. you know, for people who say, yeah, that's the one. >> woodruff: is that disappointing to you? >> well, i mean, in an idealistic world, would i have liked to have seen one strong alternative to mitt romney? the answer would be yes. >> woodruff: one other conservative getting squeezed by the competition is michele bachmann who continues to insist she'll surprise everyone. >> i'm a real authentic iowan. that's what they want. someone who will reflect their values. a complete package. >> woodruff: adding to the unpredictability is the role played by libertarian ron paul
who appeals to younger voters and other anti-government activists in both political parties. >> it is great to be here. i mean, this crowd is amazing. we're suggesting we'd get a few people out at these whistle stops and sort of encourage everybody along. but this is almost like a real rally. this is great. wonderful. >> woodruff: paul has a loyal, organized following. and the latest poll indicates he's running a strong second to romney. but recent reports about extreme statements he's made in the past add to his challenge after iowa. >> i think what voters like about him is that he represents their anger at what's happened with government. and he represents dramatic change at a time when people are quibbling over what seems like small things. but at the end of the day he's also... he ties with michele bachmann as the least electable. i think that's what this is coming down to. do i want to send a message or do i want someone who can win? >> i'm calling to ask for your
vote on tuesday night. >> woodruff: the pollsters say more than ever this year the results will depend on who shows up at the caucuses tuesday night. not only which candidates get out their supporters but also unique to the caucuses, how persuasive are the people who have made up their minds. >> if you walk into your caucus and hear somebody who you respect their opinion, you know they're highly involved, they put a lot of thought into it, they deliver a compelling message about it, you were, you know, you had a first choice but maybe you weren't as committed to them. you can be swayed. >> woodruff: to help the swayers, candidates are now trying to sign up at least one committed speaker for each of iowa's more than 1700 caucuses. no firm word on how that is going. but it's something else to worry about. if the clock runs out on this first in the nation highly unpredictable presidential selection contest.
>> brown: we'll have more on iowa coming up, with the analysis of stuart rothenberg and susan page; the arson fires in los angeles; the egyptian military crackdown on u.s.- backed groups; and the power of the human brain. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: iran test-fired an improved cruise missile today, adding to tensions with the u.s., europe, and israel. the missile test was part of war games that have focused on the strategicallyital strait of hormuz. we have a report narrated by alex thomson of independent television news. >> reporter: by air, land and sea, iran's ten-day naval exercise carefully captured on state television. they say the new missiles with the range of around 160 miles can evade radar. they were test fired in the persian gulf close to the strait of hor muz which iran is stressing.... >> the strait is in opposition. security of the strait is in our control. and the strait is in our total
control. >> reporter: in truth closing the strait would likely hurt iran as much as world oil markets. and such threats are almost routine from tehran. washington's immediately said it won't tolerate iran shutting the strait to which up to a third of the world's tanker traffic passes, 15 million barrels of crude every day. today israel's defense minister said iran's shutting the strait was unlikely. >> i doubt iran can allow itself to seriously consider the closing of the strait of hormuz even in a scenario of tougher sanctions being imposed on it. this whole outrage the world and direct the world's active resistance towards it. >> reporter: the e.u. says it could go even further with sanctions on iranian oil exports, the world's fourth largest producer. >> all of which is why tehran's also made sure it's tv news reported claims that it's produced and tested nuclear fuel rods. it insists its nuclear program
is peaceful. whatever the reality. >> sreenivasan: on saturday, iran proposed a new round of talks on its nuclear program. at the same time, president obama signed new sanctions, aimed indirectly at hindering iran's oil exports. they take effect in six months. the 123rd tournament of roses parade filled the streets of pasadena, california, today, a day later than usual because new year's fell on a sunday. hundreds of thousands of people lined the route to watch dozens of floral floats and marching bands. security was tighter this year as "occupy the rose parade" protesters marched the same route, after the parade ended. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: for more on the final 24 hours in iowa, we turn to stuart rothenberg, editor and publisher of the "rothenberg political report," and contributor to "roll call" newspaper. and susan page, washington bureau chief for "u.s.a. today," reporting from the hawkeye state. stu, it seems to me as judy just reported, this thing is really up in the air. it makes me wonder whether
this is unusual or whether we're just thinking it is. >> i think there is a good deal of uncertainty. i think that's more unusual than in the past. there are three people who appear to be in the top tier: romney, paul and santorum. questions about turnout, new kinds of voters, younger voters. conservatives, are they moving in one direction or another? i think this is... there's always some uncertainty in caucuses because of the low turnout but i think there's added uncertainty. >> ifill: we heard that everybody was waiting for the poll on new year's eve, we heard that 41% of the number of caucus goers said, i don't know, i could still change my mind. even though it looks like mitt romney is in the lead-a it looks like rick santorum is surging, we don't really know. >> i would disagree a little with stu. we pretty much know that the top three finishers would be santorum and romney and paul. we don't know exactly what order they'll be in. we note who that is good news for. it's good news for mitt romney because he's going to be doing better here in a state that
crushed his aspirations last time around four years ago. it's going to put him whether he finishes first or second in pretty good position in new hampshire where he's highly favored. the romney people are looking very happy as are, of course, the santorum people. and the ron paul people are also pretty energized but it seems to me the shape of this race is pretty clear 24 hours before people will actually show up at those caucuses. >> ifill: stu, we know mitt romney has gotten a consistent quarter of the vote. it turns out in a split field that might be enough. is that enough to give him the strength he needs to launch into new hampshire? >> i think so, gwen. obviously expectations change. but right now if you think about that mitt romney has a chance to win or finish second. as susan suggest, even finishing second with rick santorum emerging as the conservative alternative, the romney people have to be thrilled. i think we know that romney is going to be relieved after this.
whether he has a big win, a narrow win, finishes second is less important. he's going to go to new hampshire with momentum. new hampshire, gwen, is a terrific state for mitt romney. >> ifill: susan, the santorum surge as we keep calling it, him coming on strong here toward the end, is this something you've been able to document anecdotally or physically as you've been out there covering this campaign? you see aate low of the social conservative voters who have gone between perry and herman cain and michele bachmann. they seem to be settling on santorum. i was at an event with newt gingrich the other day where he cried when he talked about remembering his late mother. i talked to the iowa woman who was sitting right in front of me. she said that was beautiful. i like a lot of what he said. i said are you going to support newt gingrich? no, i'm going to support rick santorum. i think you do get the sense that santorum has become the last stop for these voters after they went from one to the other. >> ifill: does that mean, stu, as has happened in the past,
each of these two frontrunners become targets for everybody else. we heard perry going after santorum and gingrich going after romney. >> this has turned out to be the andy warhol caucuses where everybody has their 15 minutes of fame. it turns out right now that santorum is the last man standing but he's the last man standing because nobody has yet picked apart his record and his experience. that is happening now, as we... as you suggest. it will happen over the next few days and few weeks if santorum emerges as a serious contender in new hampshire. >> ifill: is rick santorum prepared for that, susan, whether it's money raised or organizationally, to push back? we know what newt gingrich was not. >> no. rick santorum is not prepared for this. he doesn't have much of an organization. he's spent all his time going from town to town here in iowa. that's served him well in terms of the iowa caucuses. it's left him pretty bare when it comes to future contests. we do have a string of
contests that come on pretty fast order. we have the new hampshire primary in a week and the south carolina primary and the florida primary at the end of the month. he'll have to pivot in a serious and fast way, raise money, spend it, get organized. that is a very tough... that is a very tough task for any candidate. >> ifill: how strong, sue, is ron paul's support? i was struck by the fact that he seems shocked that all these people keep showing up to see him. is it strong enough not only for him to come in second but also to do something with it after he leaves iowa? >> his problem is he has a ceiling. he'srobably nudging up against it. and remember this is the kind of place where iowa where independents can participate. democrats can reregister. once he gets into contests where only republicans can participate over the long haul i just think that he doesn't have the breadth of support within the party. in terms of intensity, we know it's there. ron paul supporters will show up tomorrow night, no matter what the weather is.
if a falling star falls in iowa, they'll be there. but over the long term, i think there's no reason to believe that he is a... i'll get more emails on this, he's a serious, credible contender for the republican nomination for president. of the united states. >> ifill: susan, when it comes to republican caucuses in iowa, do they serve the purpose of actually nominating or eliminating candidates? >> i think the iowa caucuses tend to... they don't often pick the president but they eliminate some people from competition. if michele bachmann comes in 6th after winning the straw poll in august in a state where she was born and there are a lot of social conservative voters aligned with her sentiments, i think it would be very tough for her to go on. if rick perry comes in fifth hard to believe he would be one of the first candidates pushed out given his standing as the nation's senior governor and his money.
but i think that's also possible. we know already that on wednesday morning he's not going to new hampshire. he's going to south carolina, by-passing that next primary in hopes of recovering in that southern state where he may do a little better. >> ifill: apparently so. michele bachmann is doing the same thing. is there room for a comeback for either of them? >> i'm not going to proclaim their campaigns over here. i think susan is is right. >> ifill: why? >>. >> there are three tickets out of iowa. that's the saying of course. some people are saying there's going to be a fourth this time because ron paul gets one of the three. somebody else is going to get one. there are certainly not five or six tickets. i think the candidates who finish those last two slots will have a difficult time making the case... making a credible case, such as michele bachmann. she has to decide if she wants to run for re-election to congress. she has to do that soon he were rather than later. >> ifill: you imagine one of the planes that leave the airport wednesday morning might be heading home to new hampshire or south carolina, susan? >> well, i think that's possible.
although we have these two debates next weekend in new hampshire. candidates might hold on for those. those have been great opportunities for people to make a stand. and take advantage of somebody else's mistakes. so it's possible that we'll see the candidates going for just a little while longer. the fact is we might see these candidates go for quite a bit longer given the changes in republican rules this time. we haven't really focused on this. you know, we've become accustomed to republican races that get settled pretty quick by those super tuesday contests. math mathematically they've pushed the big contests back. they're requiring proportional representation in the contests that come before april 1. that could have the effect of pushing this contest into april and may, maybe even into the final primaries into june. >> ifill: why ever get off the debate stage if there's going to be another debate and if the rules have changed? thank you both very much. >> thank you, gwen. >> thank you.
>> brown: now, an arrest of a suspect, as arson fires put los angeles on edge. ray suarez has our story. >> suarez: the first car fire broke out just after midnight on friday in the city of west hollywood. four more were reported in quick succession. by the end of the night, the total had reached at least 21 fires in hollywood and west hollywood, mostly in carports and underground garages. nobody was hurt but flames damaged several homes and apartment buildings. the outbreak of apparent arson left firefighters scrambling and residents shaken. >> that's my home. i live there. like i could have died. >> suarez: early saturday morning another 16 suspected arson fires turned cars to charred metal. and new year's eve brought still more. >> it was done while people were sleeping. and that's a scary part. >> suarez: another dozen fires erupted early today. that made more than 50 in at
least four separate parts of the los angeles area. over the span of just four nights. it was the region's worst arson spree in two decades. but investigators caught a break with this surveillance video. showing a man with a pony tail. he was coming out of a parking garage on hollywood boulevard minutes before a fire began there saturday evening. early this morning, a man was detained based on that description. >> a los angeles county sheriff's deputy assigned to west hollywood station stopped a driver of a van near sunset boulevard and fairfax avenue in the city of los angeles. the van resembled a description provided by the arson task force as possibly being related to the recent fires, and the driver resembled a person of interest seen in a videotape released by the multi-agency arson task force the previous evening. >> suarez: by this afternoon, he was formally arrested and faced arson charges.
the police said damages so far have topped $2 million. the investigation was continuing. for more on the fires that gripped los angeles over the weekend, we're joined by adam nagourney, los angeles bureau chief of the "new york times." adam, in the past few hours have we learned any more about this man first picked up as a person of interest? >> he's been arrested. he's been charged with arson. they have not officially put out his name yet. they're holding a news conference at 6:15 pacific time to put out more details about him. i think some of the questions out there is whether or not he acted alone, whether or not he was able to do this on his own. the police were not specific about that. they suggested they thought so but at that news conference earlier, they said they were continuing the investigation and still talking to people. that is one of the big questions out there. >> suarez: with a crime that allows the perpetrator to get away before police and fire arrive on the scene, maybe even far away, did police catch a couple of breaks?
did they get lucky? an arrest came pretty quickly? >> well, two things. the videotape was certainly a break for them. there's so much surveillance cameras around the world these days that i'm not sure i would call it lucky. i'm not sure it's surprising. he police also really flooded the area. there were cops all over the place. it's basically, you know, you talk about how he was in four separate areas that's totally true but it was concentrated to hollywood and west hollywood. that's a fairly discreet area. i thought inevitably he would get caught. i thought maybe it would be three or four days but i thought he would get caught. it's easy to see someone do something. there are so many police out there. the l.a.p.d. has ever years not having a good reputation, has a really good reputation now for cracking crimes. >> suarez: l.a.-county is a geographically vast population, huge, dazzlingly diverse place. it's hard to name a story that
gets everybody's attention. was this an exception? >> it's like this earthquakes and armageddon. you know, the thing is like one of your... the people you spoke to was saying there's something about it that was very alarming. not only the fact that when you went to sleep at night you always have to wonder what was that sound up the street? what's that light change? butal like certainly in the area where this is going on, which happens to be where i live, there would be sirens all night. there will be helicopters flying over all night. two nights ago i heard a helicopter coming right nearby so i walked out our front door. there was a car on fire. it was very much in people's faces. not like if you're in new york city and this is taking place in queens. it was all over the place. i think people were very aware of it and very much on edge. this definitely had people talking and concerned. >> suarez: during this short spell of nightly fires, police had advice. they asked people to be on the lookout. are they asking the people still keep their guard up, that the possibility still exists for more fire? >> at the earlier news conference today, that is one thing they said which
definitely caught my attention which is why i was wondering whether they considered the case closed or not. they're telling people to keep their lights on at night and watch after suspicious characters. my guess is that most people will continue to do this for a while. one thing i think they have to look out for and the police didn't mention this, but it's copy-cat. even if this guy did act alone, what if there are copycat people out there to do the same thing? that is a common phenomenon in these kinds of arson fires. >> suarez: one way to check, have there been any similar fires since this, so far unnamed suspect was first picked up? >> nope. this guy was picked up at 3:00 california time this morning. there's not been a fire since then. over the past couple nights they've gone as late as don't hold me to it by i think 5:00 or 6:00 a.m., so so far so good. >> the a.t.f., a federal agency, alcohol, tobacco and firearms, was one of the agencies in on this investigation. why is that? how does the federal government get involved in a series of local crimes? >> part of this, i think, it's
an arson investigation. that's the kind of investigation they would get involved in. also keep in mind that l.a. is, in addition to being very diverse really complicated geographically. we're talking already two different police agencies. the l.a. county sheriff and the los angeles police department. because it covers such a vast area. such a vast area and so many different communities and so many towns. one thing they did was set up a task force of all these different agencies to kind of coordinate it. i think it was a way of keeping things together and having more expertise brought in. >> suarez: do we know anything yet about the m.o., or any good theories about how such a large number of fires were set? do we know how the arsonist was setting these garages on fire? >> we don't know that yet. there's been a lot of rumors out there about whether or not he used molotov cocktails, whether or not he used timing devices. the fact that there was a space and time that videotape between when he left the garage on highland and hollywood and when it went up
in flames makes people think that there must have been a timing device in play. the only thing... again at this point we're just speculating based on fact. there must be a timing device in play. these things happened in such sort of concentration like on the first night on friday morning early friday morning it would be like attack, two minutes later another attack. you could hear it because you would hear a set of sirens. a few seconds later you would hear another set of sirens further away in the city. the police and the fire department spent their whole night chasing around fires from place to place. and either there's two people doing it or he was able to do it with a timer. in any event he was able to overwhelm the fire department and the police department for a while. >> suarez: so you'llbe hearing from the authorities involved in a little while in california time? >> yeah, they're holding a news... they were going to book him as we're speaking now. they were going to officially book him. once he's officially booked his name is released. but they want all the news conference with all the political leaders.
i'm not saying they're doing it because they want to take credit in this, but just in case they are. at 6:15. the mayor and the fire department chief and the police chief will be there. again i think the main question here that the people are wondering about, is assuming that he's guilty, did he act alone? did this put an end to this? it's hard to exaggerate. this is obviously an area that is used to various kind of external threats whether it's mud slides or earthquakes. but it's hard to, you know, exaggerate the extent to which this sort of put people on edge. there was something very anonymous and disconcerting about it because it was random, because it happened at night, because no one got hurt here. that was just a matter of luck because he blew up cars. but a lot of these cars set buildings on fire. i know people who normally keep their car in their driveway who parked on it on the street because they didn't want the situation of having their car blow up and their house set on fire. people were very nervous about this. >> suarez: adam nagourney of the "new york times," thank for joining us.
>> thanks for having me. >> brown: and we turn next to the continuing upheaval in egypt, beginning with a look at the role of the army, a key player in modern egyptian history and, particularly, in recent months. our report comes from charles sennott, editor of the international news web site, "global-post." >> reporter: one year ago, one young man took center stage in tahrir square. he told the crowd of hundreds of thousands. the army has to choose between the regime and the egyptian people. it was a strategy expressed in a simple chant. "the army, the people, hand in hand." it proved to be a tipping point. president hosni mubarak was toppled the next day. and on the first day of a new egypt, military soldiers were greeted as heroes.
soon this trusted military was handed executive power in the transition until elections could be held. now nearly a year later as the elections for a new parliament are well underway the military is standing by to protect the polls. but returning to cairo to cover this continuing revolution, we found that the military is no longer seen as upholding the hope of the protest movement. many fear it is a new face of the old regime. abbas was a muslim brotherhood youth leader then and part of the revolutionary youth council. he now feels the military betrayed the revolution. >> they want the old system and old regime. they want to be upper hand. >> reporter: abbas is not just
a revolutionary but has become a candidate for parliament. at this vote-counting center near the pyramids, he is anxiously waiting to see how his party fared in the mid december round of voting. >> i stopped using the slogan "the army, the people" on april 8 when i saw the army shooting and killing their own sons and daughters. >> reporter: on this street, there's been a turning point in egypt's continuing revolution. the military, which was seen as heroic in the first phase of this revolution, is now taking part in a brutal and deadly crashdown on protestors. to critics it's a sign that the military will not give up power easily. in april, the military began mass arrests of protestors and has put some 13,000 civilians before military tribunals, often on trumped-up charges with swift judgment and long sentences. women protestors were detained and administered so-called
virginity tests by soldiers. at least one woman has filed and recently won a court case to stop the practice which she called rape. in october, 25 christian protestors were killed for demonstrating at the national television building. for what they perceived as government indifference to attacks on christian and the burning of a church. the 350,000-strong military has a great deal at stake in a new egypt. it is a vft enterprise backed by 1.3 billion in annual assistance from the united states. the military owns vast tracks of land for opulent residential develments are built and officers are often given housing. there is a new air force sports stadium, a national chain of gas stations, hotels and downtown cairo, supermarkets, farmland,
factories, hospitals, and the toll roads to the highly profitable port of suez. the egyptian media reported that the government had to go to the military for $1.3 billion in loans to keep it afloat. some u.s. and egyptian economists project that the military controls as much as 30% of egypt's overall economy. but no one knows for sure. that's because for more than a half century, the military under sadat and mubarak was permitted to keep its accounting top secret. this retired general who lived egypt's modern military history led raids in the 1967 war and again in 1973. which in egypt is commemorated as the october 6 victory. the retired general was proud of the military supporting the youth in tahrir square. and despite his frail health, he joined the protests.
>> one day i go down to tahrir and i took a banner with me that said the fighters of october 6 are right with you. the fighters of january 25. and i walked around the square for a whole hour with it. i don't know how i managed to, a whole hour in tahrir because healthwise i can't do that. >> reporter: he said he was always proud of his military background even if he was not so proud of fellow officers enriching themselves through the culture of perks which he says eventually became outright greed. and corruption. >> they have the power from their weapons. this is number one. of course power, authority, and good cash flow. of course i will hold on to these benefits. >> reporter: now the general says he is increasingly ashamed of the military. he watched in disbelief in recent months as the army descended into violence and brutality and showed the true faith, as he puts it, of the old regime.
it's time, he says, for the military to turn over control of the country to the youth who have the greatest stake in its future. >> i think that this revolution in this country will not succeed without those youth taking control of everything. we have to talk away. we have to turn away from the older people, including myself, and give those youth a chance to take the leadership positions. >> reporter: egypt's former ambassador to washington believes the military will ultimately do just that. and live up to its promise to relinquish power in six months when a new president tas office. but he concedes that this transfer of authority will mean many challenges for the military. to live up to a new culture of transparency and accountability. >> i think it's the people actually want to believe in the military. if we find a way to end the violence quickly. and are able to move politically, they may be able to get over this. very difficult week.
but that requires moving toward sieve... quickly and it requires putting together a political system just based on four basic principles: transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, and finally competitiveness. >> reporter: these principles will be a direct challenge to the military's vast economic reach. but undoing the military's hold on so much economic power may ultimately be needed to modernize egypt's struggling economy. >> brown: last >> brown: last week, egyptian security forces raided the offices of foreign democracy and human rights organizations, including several backed by the u.s. government, further straining relations between the two countries. we look at the situation now with samer shehata, a professor at the center for contemporary arab studies at georgetown university. and steven cook, senior fellow for middle east studies with the council on foreign relations. both have recently been in egypt. . welcome to both of you.
steven cook, if you look generally, what is going on, picking up off that piece, what is going on to motivate the military with these strong- arm tactics? >> i think the peace touch... the piece touches on three things at the military wants out of the transition period. none of which conform to the democratic demands of tahrir square last year. the military wants to hold on to its economic interests. it has a different view of stability and social cohesion in egypt than the kind of cantankerous debate free-for-all that you're seeing in egypt right now. most importantly egyptian armed forces want to retain its role as the source of legitimacy and authority in egypt. in a democracy, the people are the source of authority and legitimacy. so it's clear that what they're trying to do is salvage as much as they can from the previous regime while taking account of some of the demands from tahrir. >> brown: and is there a path or a way to do that, newer, to hold on to some power but to
cede to some of these things that people seem to be demanding. >> people in egypt right now are talking about this. they're talking about a deal possibly being done by the civilian political forces with not the military overall but really the 24 or 22-- we don't know how many-- generals who are really in charge, what's called the supreme council of the armed forces, a deal that would essentially provide them three things as steve mention. first lack of accountability for financial crimes and other crimes that were possibly committed in the many years they've been in power. there have been over 150 people who have been killed since mubarak stepped down on their watch. by regime violence against domestic protestors. they don't also want, as steve mentioned, civilian control of the military. they don't want a civilian.... >> brown: they won't cede that. >> that's not likely in the short term. the third thing they don't want is economic transparency
because clearly they control significant segments of the economy and they benefit from that. a deal is being talked about right now. of course not openly. that would provide these kinds of some guarantees for them to exit. of course time is running out. >> suarez: what of these raids last week on these organizations particularly american organizations? first tell people what these organizations do in egypt and why would the military go after them? >> well, the three most prominent that were raided were the national democratic institute, the international republican institute and freedom house. they are there to, one, observe the elections that are ongoing or in a prolonged election period in egypt right now and also to carry out training programs, election observing, party formation, capacity building, all those kinds of things that these groups are well known to do well around the world. they are actually in part federally funed. they get their money from the national endowment for democracy which is funded in part by the congress. the military undertook raids
against these organizations as well as a number of others arguing that they are operating illegally in the country and that for the egyptian ones are illegally taking foreign funding. the irony is, of course, as lead-in piece adds, the military takes $1.3 billion from the united states on an annual basis. it's hard to figure out exactly what the military strategy is here to be completely honest with you. the military has said over and over again that it is preparing the way for democracy. they should see these organizations as asset rather than as.... >> brown: is there a strong anti-less anti- foreign sentiment that they're trying to play to? i mean, is there the possibility that they play to the people in that sense and might it work? >> well, before we go there, some of these organizations are egyptian organizations. right? egyptian organizations that try to ensure the independence of the judiciary, for example. but getting to your question, yes, there is a serious skepticism towards foreign
organizations operating in egypt among some segments of the egyptian population, not everybody. many believe or see this as potentially foreign meddling in egyptian domestic politics. now it needs to be said that this is an old tactic of the mubarak regime that was, you know, on display for many many years and used for political benefit. so i think the less and less people believe that-- but nevertheless as a result of egypt's past and history-- there is this concern or sensitivity to foreign intervention. >> brown: the u.s. government expressed outrage right away. you mentioned the $1.3 billion that the u.s. gives every year to the military. is that leverage? i mean clearly that's leverage but how strong, how much power does the u.s. have to control things there? >> we have diminish leverage over the egyptian armed forces. that $1.3 billion is the same that we started giving the egyptians in 1985. if you do the math it's worth
40 or 50% of what it once was. the egyptian armed forces has been angry at congress's repeated attempts to dock that aid for human rights abuses, bad elections, the kind of crimes thatent on during the mubarak period. finally, there is a significant lack of trust between the united states and egypt despite all of the talk about a strategic relationship. what this actually in a broader perspective represents is part of the long good-bye between egypt and the united states. >> brown: the long good-bye. >> meaning that ultimately however things play out in egypt, whether it's a blossoming democracy or some kind of reconstituted authoritarian regime, there is going to be a divergence between the united states and egypt over the long term. >> brown: both sides? >> absolutely. >> brown: do you see that? >> well, i think that a democratic egypt, certainly foreign policies and regional policies reflect the wishes of the egyptian people and not mr. mubarak is going to be much more pro palestinian, for example, much more critical of
u.s. policy in the region whether it's boots on the ground or a hostile policy towards iran and so on. yes, a democratic egypt will have an independent foreign policy. that will cause some friction with the united states. the united states has gotten a great deal, quote unquote, over the last 30 years. the only country whose nuclear vessels have had passage through the suez canal, intelligence-sharing, military cooperation and essentially a pliant egypt. of course, that will change if there's democracy. it should change. >> brown: what kind of discussions are going on here in washington among u.s. policy-makers? >> well, overall there is a determination to see this through and hope that egypt ends up a more democratic and open place but there is a tension at the heart of this because our primary interlocutors are the military. the military has served washington's interest. >> brown: they're the people we still know best. >> yes and they're the people we're continuing to work wh because those interests have not gone away. i don't think policy makers have exactly worked out the tension between these two things. that's why we are kind of
being taken along with the news cycles in egypt rather than having specifically proactive policy towards achieving certain goals. >> brown: final last word on that? >> i think there's also a realization that american influence in the middle east more generally in egypt specifically has declined significantly. there's no question about that. you can feel it in egypt. i mean, when mr. obama made a statement criticizing the use of violence a week ago or so, it appeared on page 3 of the egyptian papers. in the past that would be above the folds and so on. it's egyptian actors who are the primary people shaping egypt's future. that's also as it should be. >> brown: samer shehata and steven cook, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> you're welcome. >> ifill: finally, another in our occasional reports from journalism students around the country. tonight, some cutting-edge technology used to tap into the human brain. the reporter is jake schoneker,
a recent graduate of the university of california berkeley school of journalism. >> reporter: it's the stuff of science fiction. mind-reading. the power of the human brain has long captured the imaginations of hollywood. >> i'm going to read your thoughts. >> reporter: but as scientists learn more about how the mind works, it could become a reality. at u.c.berkeley professor jack gallant and his team of researchers are in the early stages of piecing together how the mind perceives the world. it turns out it's a lot like watching a movie. >> if you walk around the world and you're moving your head and your eyes around and you're looking at scenes b in some sense you're just really watching a movie of the world going by. >> reporter: what if the movies in your mind could be shared with someone else? gallant's team did just that. they showed movie trailers to subjects inside this machine, a scanner designed to measure
blood flow in the brain. >> you can there is brain activity. this is the brain activity elicit of by this movie. red means more activity and blue means less activity. >> reporter: they focused on the primary visual cortex, a part of the brain used to process general shapes, textures and movement. >> we want to essentially build a dictionary that translates between things that happen in the world and these different parts of your brain and how they respond. >> reporter: once they built the dictionary, they used it to comb through thousands of hours of video from you-tube, blending together the frames that matched best with their results. this allowed them to make a rough reconstruction of the movies the subjects saw. the images are far from perfect. >> it knows there's a bright vertical thing with a thing sticking out of it. >> reporter: but they've been getting attention from sign tiffs and the public alike. they posted their results online and got more than a million views in less than three days. >> it showed that people actually do care about science. they do care about trying to understand the way the brain works. some people who saw the video thought, wow, this is wonderful.
scientists progressing. this is so neat. you can use this for a million things. some people saw video and said, this is very scary and frightening. people shouldn't do this. >> reporter: he says critics should know that their work is far from invading your thoughts. >> we're not doing mind reading or peering into your brain and reconstructing pictures in your head. we're reading your brain activity and using that brain activity to reconstruct what you saw. those are two very, very different things. >> reporter: also the equipment needed costs millions and weighs several tons making it unlikely to be used outside of a hospital or a research setting. >> at some point in the future people will come up with other methods of measuring brain activity that are more direct and much more accurate. >> reporter: not everyone is waiting for next breakthrough. some companies have adapted a simpler more stripped down approach. e.e.g. >> unlike the big expensive equipment needed for fmri the eeg technology used here is smaller, cheaper and ready for mainstream use. >> the last ten years eeg has
evolved from a dedicated room with a huge processing box, a statisticians that had to go through all the signal readings and disstill it into a $99 device. >> reporter: eeg converts the electrical impulses of the brain into patterns that can be seen on a skpurt. ...ompur. it's less precise than fmri, but it can provide a glimpse of the overall mood of the brain or what are called dominant mental states. >> that can be, are you in a high level of concentration or relax. >> reporter: that metric, attention and relaxation provides enough feedback for a wide range of mind-powered applications mostly in entertainment and games. >> actually it's a battle in our minds against each other. >> reporter: here your level of concentration pushes the ball towards your opponent. when it reaches the other side you win.
>> this is what we do here. >> reporter: some games are designed to help people destress and meditate. others can help children with disorders like adhd learn to focus their minds. >> focus is the world's first adhd training game that uses brain wave feedback to augment the child's learning. >> we don't see this as a replacement for current medical technologies but there's a lot of more serious applications. for example, early diagnosis of alzheimers going into a doctor's lan and just like we check your weight and blood pressure to be able to tell if your brain is healthy and post traumatic stress. >> reporter: along with its potential eeg has its own limitations. >> the signal is very, very small. it can be easily contaminated by things like sweating or blinking so the quality of the data is much much worse in eeg is much worse. >> reporter: this isn't stopping companies like neuro sky and others like it from cashing in on these gadge. wheer these pduc turn
out to be more than just toys remains to be seen. >> there are many companies trying to make brain activity recording devices that are portable and cheap and that can be used by just normal people in their daily lives. i think that's great. because these cheaper technologies will allow us to apply them to a much wider range of problems. >> reporter: these advances in neuro science are setting the stage for new applications that may soon improve our lives. >> and then this white line here. >> reporter: and as these technologies evolve at the juncture between machines and the mind, our idea of science fiction may not be so far fetched after all. >> we could do it in real life. >> ifill: if you'd like to >> ifill: if you'd like to learn more about professor gallant's research, find a link to a conversation about his lab on our web site. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day. six republican presidential hopefuls fanned out across iowa,
making their final pitches to voters the day before the caucuses. iran test-fired new cruise missilesdays after threatening to close the strait of hormuz to oil traffic. and police in los angeles arrested a man suspected in more than 50 arson fires, going back to last week. we have much more about the iowa caucuses online. hari sreenivasan explains. hari? >> sreenivasan: our political team is filing blogs and posting photographs and videos from the campaign trail in iowa. plus, find the latest polling information. we'd like your help on an upcoming story. it's about syrians living in the united states who may have been intimidated by agents of the assad regime. we want to hear from syrian americans who believe they've been victims of such harassment, and from those who support syria's government. submit your information confidentially by filling out a form on the rundown. on our home page, we look at the army's assessment of its program to improve soldiers' mental well-being, a report some health professionals found flawed. and on his making sense page, paul solman tackles a viewer's question about fairness in the
u.s. tax system. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll have full coverage of the iowa caucuses. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> and by the alfred p. sloa foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations.